Barbara Cargill Airs Her Hypocrisy

The flap over President Obama’s speech to students on Tuesday has exposed quite a bit of hypocrisy from the far right. Media Matters notes one big batch of hypocrisy from Texas State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands.

“On NPR’s All Things Considered, host Noah Adams, introducing a report on President Obama’s September 8 speech to schoolchildren, stated that ‘some parents and conservatives … called it a political intrusion into the school day.’ But NPR did not note that one of the conservatives quoted in the report, Texas State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill, has repeatedly engaged in political intrusions into the Texas school system, seeking — sometimes successfully — to change Texas schools’ curriculum to fit her conservative ideology.”

Cargill protested to NPR that the Obama administation had bypassed state and local school boards by sending notices of the speech directly to schools. She said that put schools in a difficult position, forcing them to anger some parents if they let students hear the speech and others if they didn’t. She also worried about students:

“If they (parents) opt their children out, they’re going to feel ostracized. They’re going to have to leave the comfort of their classroom to be dismissed to a gym.”

Please. That’s really weak sauce. Has anyone ever known students who were upset because they had to leave “the comfort of their classrom” to go to the gym or pretty much anywhere else? Is that the best reason Cargill has?

In any case, Cargill and other right-wingers complained that President Obama would “politicize” our children’s classrooms (which, of course, didn’t happen). But Media Matters points out the many ways that Cargill has done just that in her position as a State Board of Education member, especially during the process of revising science curriculum standards for Texas public schools.

Remember when some folks thought Cargill would be a more moderate replacement for Don McLeroy as state board chair last spring? Hardly.

Read the full Media Matters piece and listen to the NPR interview here.

UPDATE: Talking Points Memo notes that another Texas State Board of Education member, David Bradley, R-BeaumontBuna, complained about President Obama’s speech despite his own history of politicizing the education of Texas schoolchildren.

58 thoughts on “Barbara Cargill Airs Her Hypocrisy

  1. Get a life, TFN. Barbara Cargill’s trying to keep religion (scientism, overstating the evidence for “this all just happens”) out of science education is not an “intrusion”.

  2. Get a brain Gage (with a digital read out).

    She is trying to take legitimate science out of science education so she can replace it with her own peculiar outlook on the Christian faith—an outlook that is not shared by millions of other Christians whose kids are sitting in those classrooms. We don’t understand something. Maybe you could help us out here. Why are people like you and Babs Cargill so desperate to get Christian fundamentalism into the classroom? Has going door-to-door or inviting people to attend your church failed? Has Jesus wallked out on you and left your people powerless? Do you have iron-poor, tired blood? As Benjamin Franklin remarked, it’s a sad state of affairs indeed when a church or form of faith is so weak that it has to go crawling on its knees to the government to prop it up. I would remind you also that it is the government that most of you disdain and hate. Don’t you think that whole package is pretty doggone weird?

    You are welcome to come to my church on Sunday.

  3. Gage, after you’ve gotten a brain, get an education. Scientific evidence is not “overstated.” Take some biology courses. After you’ve done that, work it out how and where you believe Darwin is so wrong. Once you’ve got that figured out, submit your findings for peer review. If you can prove Darwin wrong, you’re to be famous, change history, and win a Nobel Peace Prize. Just remember, evolution has changed since Darwin’s time. Where Darwin was wrong has already been addressed and corrected – by the scientific method.

    By the way, I survived watching a speech on TV at school delivered by Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khruschev when I was in fourth grade in 1960. If I could survive listening to the then current apostle of atheist communism, I’m sure kids can survive listening to President Obama. If not, you have an extremely poor opinion of kids.

    I challenge the Barbara Cargills of the U.S. to supply the evidence to support their theory that Obama’s speech was “Marxist” or “Nazi-ish.” (I still can’t figure out which one the Obama-haters are accusing Obama of being: Marxist or Nazi?) Would be nice if they’d shed some light on that, wouldn’t it?

  4. Charles: In my opinion, neither Barbara Cargill nor anyone else I know personally is trying to do what you suggest, “get Christian fundamentalism into the classroom”. As I see it, both her and I are trying to keep science education honest in presentation of the evidence rather than simply present popular conclusions. Some conclusions that are commonly presented go beyond what the evidence supports (see one below). I do believe good, honest people can conclude that “evolution is true”, but is everything that is included in the term “evolution” demonstrably true? Let me ask, what all does “evolution” mean to you, and how much of that is truly fact? Even if you consider common ancestry to be well demonstrated by morphology and genetics, how proven is it that the ability to change so drastically is inherent in the biochemistry? Or is it just that the alternative (that some kind of design is required) is so unscientific that we assume the ability for profound changes is all chemistry?

    Cytocop: FYI, educationally I’ve gone as far as anyone can go in my field, and its a “hard science”; can you say the same? Also, can you point out where Barbara Cargill accused Obama of being either Marxist or a Nazi? In my experience, she is not reckless with her words, and she is a rather gracious person. Have you ever spoken with her?

  5. Gage, I’m going to help you out. Below is a link to Science magazine. There you will find all the information you need to submit a paper detailing any flaws in the theory of evolution.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/about/authors/

    I look forward to reading all about this “overstating” of the evidence.

    If, on the other hand, you decide not to submit a paper, then we will all assume you don’t have any evidence and you can’t back up your claims.

  6. Gage, if you are in the hard sciences, then you must understand that “popular conclusions” are the result of rigorous examination of evidence, testing by independent sources and, by way of a consortium of peer review, become accepted conclusions. If they are “popular,” it is because there is consensus based on scientific methodologies. Those same methodologies grant the ability for someone else to put forth compelling evidence to the contrary. If competing theories can be substantiated by scientific peer review, then the “popular conclusions” will undergo progression.

    To test new evidence on youngsters via the unethical/unscientific maneuverings of the SBOE will result in convoluted science. If there is no respect for the ethics of the field, what is really being taught? If someone has compelling evidence contrary to accepted conclusions, I offer the following advice: hypothesize, test, write, undergo peer review, let your conclusions play it out in the world arena of scientific endeavor. If your conclusions can be corroborated by independent testing, you will have made your case convincingly.

  7. Gage. Apparently, you did not go as far as you could go in English class. That’s not “…her and I…” It’s “…she and I…” Cut the crap. You’re not interested in science. Your position is the same as that of every other Christian Neo-Fundamentalist on the planet:

    ” Genesis says blah, blah, blah. Therefore, no matter what the science says, the science has to be wrong.”

    With that as your foundation, any attempt to argue science is rendered automatically meaningless. However, I have a different theory that I think is every bit as good as your Genesis blah, blah, blah.

    “Fundamentalists read the Bible and misunderstand quite a lot of what they read.”

  8. Gage, first of all ‘scientism’ is not a religion. Scientists regularly change their views when the evidence warrants it. I’ve never seen a religious person change their mind when presented with evidence. In fact, I’ve been told that ‘nothing’ will change their minds from what they believe in.

    I’ve tried to talk to Ms. Cargill. I wrote her several letters, polite ones, stating my concerns and asking for feedback. They were all ignored. I live in her SBOE district, so I’m a constituent, but can’t get an audience.

    For evolution not to be true, it means that the basis of biology, microbiology, geology, paleontology, astronomy, cosmology, and a great deal of physics would also not be true. For evolution to be true, it mostly wipes out Biblical literalism but no real science.

  9. Gage — telos, or design, is non-scientific. It’s metaphysical, relying on an a priori, qualitative analysis rather than a quantitative and empirical one. That’s why it doesn’t belong in a science class. Similarly, the theory of evolution makes no essentialist claim
    about the nature of genetics, but presents a coherent narrative that explains observable facts in terms of those observables. To politicize science education by advocating non-normal paradigms may flatter your political leanings, but in terms of informing students of thr normative paradigms of modern empirical biology, it’s irresponsible.

  10. Lemme see if I got this right. Gage tries to blow smoke up our a$$es, first by pretending as if this website didn’t have plenty of evidence of Ms. Cargill’s( and Gage’s, it seems) true agenda, “teaching the controversy”, and then by using a ridiculous excuse that somehow is supposed to explain why ID should be taught in the science class. Yet for all the silly handwaving, Cytocop is supposed to believe, much less give a crap about, Gage’s strange sexual peccadillos in a meadow, referencing his “hard” science mastery.

    Well, I’m sold. Barbara is TFN’s best bud, and I’m a heroin junkie that has won the last 6 Boston Marathons; Cytocop, can you say the same?

  11. Gage, to answer your questions:

    * No, I can’t say the same. In fact, I don’t even have a B.Sc. Since you do – and I take it you have a Ph.D. or M.D. or both – then you know very well all the flaws in current evolution theory and are well-qualified to write a convincing paper with a slam-dunk argument stating your case. What are you waiting for? Why waste your time here when you could be on your way to a Nobel Peace Prize. Then you can donate all your prize money to the Dicovery Institute or whatever charity you choose.

    * No, I haven’t spoken with Barbara Cargill. Yes, in re-reading the above, I don’t see evidence that she has ever called Pres. Obama a “Marxist” or a “Nazi.” So you got me there. However, I don’t see evidence that she has renounced such name-calling from those of her politicoreligious viewpoint who have labeled him such. Since she is the wonderful and objective person you and others have described, I’m sure she will do so publicly, and I look forward to accepting her statement of renunciation as being sincere.

    Trog69, I can “one-up you” (*grin*): I’ve done the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred Bicycle Tour, Wichita Falls, TX, August 2002.

  12. Gage. Meaning no disrespect, Rocket Mike is right—you know that. Among scientists who understand real science, lawyers/judges who understand real constitutional law, and intelligent people on the street, the planned ID deception is a failure. The Trojan horse has failed. People know there are soldiers inside your wooden horse, so it’s not coming inside the gates of the city. The best you can hope for is that some soldier standing in a tower will fire a lit arrow into it and set it on fire.

    Now. I know you feel that you and all of the people in your church are behind ID—as are the members of numerous other Christian Neo-Fundamentalist churches. You think ID is really a slick public relations campaign dressed up to look like science. You believe that you are going to wake up one morning and find that this PR campaign has swayed a nation and evolution will be kicked out of public school science classes. Here are several reasons why that is NOT going to happen:

    1) The Bible says that the only thing you can be sure of in this world is tribulation. If you read all of the eschatology, things like an ID victory are unlikely to occur because the Bible tells us that everything in this world is destined to get worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse until Jesus intervenes physically and personally. Whatever you think of as good in this world (like ID) is destined to go down the toilet sooner or later. Could you deny that after the results of the 2008 election?

    2) Fairly Intelligent people tend to be in charge, no matter who elects, appoints, or hires them. They listen to real scientists because they are experts on science. It’s the safe thing to do, and no one likes safety more than politicians. This is why Don McLeroy was not confirmed as the SBOE chairman—even with a committee full of right wingers. The people who have the authority to really make a difference, at a given moment, will take Ken Miller over William Dembski 8 times out of 10. Those are really bad odds.

    3) By the time the Obama administration is finished appointing federal judges, the courts will be full of people who understand that creation science and ID are an attempt to teach Christian Neo-Fundamentalism in public school classrooms rather than real science. This was Jerry Falwell’s greatest fear right before he died. He said that if Obama won the 2008 election, you guys were most likely looking at 50 straight years of failure in the courts. I agree with his assessment.

    4) Christian churches and religious organizations that were once silent are now activated against the Religious Right and people like you. My own church is. The picnic is over. We saw that in the last election. For every one of you who wants to teach your peculiar faith to my kid in science class, there are several other Christians like me who are going to stand up and say, “Over our dead bodies!!!” We mean it too. We do not accept the belief that you guys are the only “true Christians” in the world. That is a tag that you guys gave to yourselves—in shameful religious pride as mere men.

    5) You may think that the doctrine of “holy deception” is nice, cute, and intelligent. ID is a holy deception—and you know it. The problem is that the whole concept of holy deception does not come from the Bible. It comes from the mouth of Sun Myung Moon and his Moonie followers—a recent cult started by a Korean man who claims to be the new messiah sent to complete the unfinished (or failed) work of Jesus. In the Bible, God makes it clear that he hates lies and does not honor the people and causes that propogate them. This alone means that ID is doomed, and its poor track record so far is quite likely a reflection of the Lord’s handiwork.

    6) In a world of sinners who far outnumber you and your colleagues, do you really think that all of these people who hate the gospel are going to sit still and let you teach your view of it to their children in the public schools? They will be out in droves with tar and feathers—ready for action—if you press them. You’ve seen them before. If you have ever been out witnessing door-to-door (I have), you know these people. They are the residents of the five houses in a row that cussed you out at the front door, and then slammed it in your face. There are billions of those guys out there Gage—billions and billions and billions. You are going to teach creation science/ID to their children? Yeah, right.

    7) Seven is God’s number, so chew on this. All truth is God’s truth. All of the legitimate science indicates that evolution actually happened. This includes science done by Christians such as my old friend Dr. Fred Smith, a human paleontologist at Loyola University of Chicago. Fred is a Southern Baptist who sang in the choir in a small Tennessee town when he was growing up. There are thousands of Fred Smiths out there who have studied evolution and contributed greatly to the peer-reviewed literature on the subject. No credible evidence for anything other than evolution has ever been found. There is a good reason for that. It does not exist. Evolution is truth, and like all truth, it is God’s truth. I am telling you this now. One of these days, Jesus himself will show this to you.

    When that days comes, be it in this world or the next, you wil stammer and say, “Bu-bu-bu-but!!! You had this story in Genesis 1, and it was different from what you are showing me. Yoo, you, you lied to me!!!

    He will then turn to you and say,

    “No Gage. I never lied to you. You and your friends chose of your own free and fallible human wills to believe that the Genesis 1 story was actual history. Worst of all, you did it at a time when their was a mountain of evidence to the contrary. I never said that it was actual human history. It was a parable like the ones I told in the New Testament. I really do enjoy teaching in parables. If you had read your Bible more often, you would have figured that out. Besides, if I had given Moses all of that DNA and biochemical mumbo jumbo, he would not have understood any of it. I had to give a primitive nomadic people a simple story that they could wrap their heads around. Surely you can understand that Gage.”

  13. I’m kinda new here, and I now learn that referencing gluteal musculature is verboten. No problemo; I can be funny without cursing. I’ve got grandkids, and I’ve been messing with their heads for years.

    The oldest is 9, so the humor I direct towards her is obviously too advanced for most creationists. Hm, let’s try the six-year-old’s proof of evolution:

    Why do cows wear cowbells? Because their horns don’t work! Huh? Huh? Yeah, ’nuff said.

    Cytocop, that is one grueling run. I made it half-way last year; You prolly saw me. I was that guy at the 47 mile mark, jumping up and down and cursing, ’cause my shirt got all sweaty and made my cigarettes too damp to light. Wait’ll next year!

  14. Cytocop: Thank you for addressing all of the questions I asked of you. About publishing and getting the Nobel Prize, let me clarify what I am and am not disputing about evolution. I think the Earth is really old, like billions of years, or at least there is good evidence for it. I think there is good evidence for common ancestry. If that’s all you mean by “evolution”, I have no dispute with you.

    Where I think the science is overstated is when the profound changes in organisms over time is attributed to natural variations (mutations, gene transfers, whatever) plus natural selection as if it were a fact. Let me be clear: holding RM + NS as a possible cause or theory is OK by me. But to state it as a fact is to go beyond the evidence and enter the realm of speculation.

    Now I think many people at this point would say, “well, if its not RM + NS, or some similar mechanism, then you are saying it must be God who did it, and that’s not science. So we have to teach the naturalistic version as fact whether or not there is solid evidence for it because the alternative is unacceptable.” Or you might say it this way: “We have to pretend we know how this happened because the alternative is religion.”

    Let me quickly add, I do not support teaching intelligent design in schools. Personally, I don’t think ID is religion, but I’ll settle for a very honest presentation of what scientifically we do and do not know for sure. Scientific speculation has its place even in science classes, but only when clearly labeled as such.

    Charles: Thanks for the looong explanation, pretty interesting. My degree is not in English, thanks for the help there, I’ll remember that. Maybe you see that some of what you wrote was misdirected because you assumed I was a literal creationist? I’m not out to kick evolution out of public science classes. You never answered my question about what you think exactly constitutes “evolution”. I really am interested in how you, and everyone on this blog, defines evolution. So please respond. And I hope you understand I’m not out to teach “creation science/ID” to anyone’s children, at least not in public schools. And I don’t think Barbara Cargill is either.

  15. “We have to pretend we know how this happened because the alternative is religion.”

    “(…)So we have to teach the naturalistic version as fact whether or not there is solid evidence for it because the alternative is unacceptable.”

    Now I see why this is a non-smoking website; All that straw is really flammable.

    “And I don’t think Barbara Cargill is either.”

    Everything before “Barbara”, I can agree with.

  16. We’ve see your tactics before, Gage. You’re not fooling anyone. Quit being dishonest. If the evidence is overstated, why aren’t you presenting your countering evidence to Science magazine? The link is above. Go ahead. You can do it. Go through the process. Do real science.

    By the way, your failure to understand the word “theory” in a scientific context, and to understand that evolution is both a theory and a fact, is pretty good evidence that you lied about your level of education, or you are choosing to remain willfully ignorant.

    TFN, can you check IP addresses? This guy sure writes like ScienceMinded. Same patronizing tone. Same tactics. Same use of feigned concerns.

  17. Yes TFN. I agree with Ben. Right before going to bed last night, I said to myself, “This Gage guy sounds like he either is or could be the identical twin of some other famous denizens here.”

  18. “Veddy interestink…

    Anyone here knowing where that partial phrase comes from, is probably looking forward to their afternoon nap.

    Hey, who ya callin’ an old fart? I’ll have you know that mine still smell fresh as a daisy!

  19. trog, wasn’t that arte johnson from Laugh In?

    Your comment cracked me up, because I just woke up from a nap! (One of the perks of being self-employed.)

  20. @ Trog69: 🙂 Actually what I wrote about myself is only half true. I did participate in the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred in 2002 but I didn’t do the 100-mile route. I did the 100K route which, as you know, is only 62 point something miles. I just say “100” because it sounds better. And yes, it was a rough ride at times but, oddly, it was the single most fun day I’ve had since I moved to TX.

    Gage, my lack of formal education in Biology limits my understanding. But, to the best of MY knowledge, there is no problem since the theory of evolution is presented just as that: theory. I’ve never heard it titled anything but that: Theory of Evolution. Not Law of Evolution, Fact of Evolution, or anything else the creationists or ID proponents are complaining about. In my long experience in academia (high school and about 4 semesters of college Biology so I use ‘long’ with tongue-in-cheek), nothing about evolution was ever presented to me as fact other than the fact that no better explanation has yet been found that can be addressed by the scientific method. For one to say “I think-believe-have faith in-hope there is-have wishful thinking there is” – a Designer” is fine. I have no problem with that, and I don’t think anyone else here does either. It’s just that again, to the best of MY knowledge, since a Designer cannot be proved/disproved by the scientific method, it can’t be addressed by science. As you said, “the alternative is unacceptable” is a true statement insofar as it is unacceptable because it cannot be addressed by the scientific method.

    Like Ben and others say, if you’ve got just cause to raise doubts about the details of evolutionary theory – no matter how minute – why not publish it? Since you are so highly educated, I’m sure you’re already a published researcher so you are already familiar with the logistics of publishing.

    Now I’d like to take this opportunity to expand on my misrepresentation of Barbara Cargill – which also brings this thread a little bit back on topic. It’s true I’ve not found evidence that Ms. Cargill has ever called Pres. Obama a Marxist or Nazi. I apologize to her for my mistake – vicariously – since I don’t know her or have contact with her.

    The deeper question is: why did I jump to such a conclusion? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the boundary between extremist right-wingers and moderate conservatives is becoming more difficult to find? In fact, it seems that a moderate conservative is an extinct specie. By “extremist,” I mean the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, the Sean Hannitys, the Bill O’Reillys, the Laura Ingrahams, the Michael Savages, et al – and all their adoring listeners – who, in turn, include the birthers, the kill-all-abortion-providers, the christofascist Christian dominionists, the libertarian no taxes/no government regs, the teabaggers, the Obama is a Muslim/Marxist/Nazi crowd, et al. Those kind of extremist conservative world views are becoming so accepted (nay, even embraced) by mainstream conservatives (if they even exist) that, unless one makes a point to dissociate one’s self from them, one is likely to be confused [by conclusion-jumpers like Cytocop] as being in sync with them.

    If Ms. Cargill disavows these extremist views, being a public figure, I would expect she would hasten to make her disgust or them known in no uncertain terms. So while I am at fault for jumping to a conclusion, Ms. Cargill bears some responsibility for it since I can’t be the only one who has done so.

    Anyone who doubts the takeover of the GOP by extremists or think that I’m overstating the case should read Max Blumenthal’s book REPUBLICAN GOMORRAH: INSIDE THE MOVEMENT THAT SHATTERED THE PARTY. If you don’t want to bother reading it, you can listen online to two radio interviews with Max Blumenthal:
    * “Fresh Air On WHYY,” hosted by Terry Gross, dated September 10.
    * “Democracy Now” hosted by Amy Goodman, dated September 4.

    Warning: Reading this book or listening to these interviews will make your hair stand on end – unless, of course, you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Republican.

  21. Cytocop, I bow before your metric prowess; 62.blahblahblah miles ( Jeez, we’re both too lazy to look it up?) in August is still quite an endurance test, I have no doubt.

    The best time I ever had in Texas was living in a pop-up camper on Lake Houston, with cases of assorted liqueurs complements of a set’em up bar in Channelview who had to get them out of the establishment, so my brother and I, in our early 20’s, figgered, ” Cases of free booze? Oh, I guess so.” hehehe, we spent some really great times there, after we traded some of the liqueurs for straight booze, and made friends with the guys next door, who cooked up all the cajun food we could eat!

    We didn’t have bicycles though, so you got me there.

  22. Thank you, Ben. I accept evolution as fact too; I was just acknowledging that it is still titled “theory.” It’s not like as if evolution was a mere supposition or hypothesis at best.

    Trog, I think I’m famous for threadjacking, here and on other message boards.

  23. Cytocop, I understand what you’re saying. It’s just that creationists, as you know, sometimes say evolution is “just a theory,” attempting to make it sound like a guess, in the way the word “theory” is used in a colloquial context. The creationists sometimes think a theory can become a law, which is not true. Saying evolution is “still titled ‘theory'” implies that same sort of colloquial connotation, as if the theory can graduate to some other higher level of meaning or importance. It can’t. A theory is as strong as it gets in science. I feel confident you know this, but I just wanted to make that clear to any other readers.

  24. Cytocop, have you thought about subbing out some of your workload to Ben? He seems to have some free time. ( For any of Ben’s clients, this is a different Ben…your Ben is hard at work even as I type! )

  25. Ben: Not a speck of dishonesty in anything I wrote, sorry to disappoint. Any resemblance to other names on this blog is strictly coincidental.

    To all: I remain interested in exactly what any of you feel constitutes “evolution”, since I think that question constitutes most of differences in this controversy. Which of the following would YOU say are what is meant by “evolution”?

    (a) change over time, especially biological change.
    (b) minor changes within species.
    (c) common ancestry of all living things.
    (d) common ancestry is due to natural variation coupled to natural selection. (totally unguided)
    (e) life originated from complex chemical reactions. (totally unguided)

    I would appreciate if any responses were at one of three levels:

    (1) clearly a fact/proven.
    (2) has significant scientific support but is inconclusive as yet.
    (3) is mostly or entirely speculation.

  26. Actually, I’m a shill for a shadowy pro-evolution consortium. I’m paid to visit boards like this and post again and again. Obviously, I’m rewarded for quantity, not quality.

  27. Evolution is when a chicken goes to bed at night, wakes up the next morning, looks down at his feet, and suddenly realizes that he has spontaneously acquired chicken feet overnight. How’s that Ben? That’s the view of evolution that the opposition says we have, so why not float it?

  28. Exactly Ben. There it is for you Gage. His URL has the creation science/ID definition of what evolution has to be before you guys would be willing to buy in—that is according to you guys. Of course, conveniently for you, that’s not how it works, so you will never have to buy in it. However, I would wager something else. I bet if Jesus himself appeared in your bedroom tonight and told you point blank that evolution was the mechanism he used to create the physicality of human beings and other species, you would still deny it. I can hear you now:

    “Lets see now. The Bible tells me that a demon or angel can appear to me as a creature of light. Genesis 1 tells me that God poofed everything into existentce in 6 24-hour days and then rested. Therefore, it was not Jesus who visted me tonight, and there was never any such thing as evolution.”

    There is always denial. Always just one more contrived excuse to avoid the truth—the truth being that the Bible is not as simple-minded as you believe it is and your human-invented idea that the Bible is inerrant in all of its original manuscripts—something neither you nor anyone else could possibly know because no one on this planet has a copy of any of those original manuscripts. Then Gage says,

    “But Charles. You don’t understand. If there is just one microscopic error in the Bible, as small as a virus, then all is lost. If it’s really there, then that means that I cannot believe in anything else in the whole book. I-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t could be wrong too. I could be violating God’s law right now, and I would never even know it? Then where would that leave me?”

    I can tell you exactly where that will leave you Gage. it will leave you with three important choices that you have never faced in your life—but Jesus would like for you to finally face:

    1) You will need to decide whether you wish to continue being a Bible idolater who worships the KJV authorized Bible or whether you might instead like to in trust the person of Jesus Christ himself.

    2) You will then have to make a second choice. All of your life, your pastors have been telling you that if one microscopic error is ever found in the Bible, then you MUST (meaning you absolutely have to—no choice) conclude that God has lied to you and you must therefore reject God and Jesus completely and forever. You will have to decide whether to reject Jesus or whether your pastors were full of horse manure for feeding you all of that inerrancy crap. I hope you will choose Jesus alone in that moment. It may come as a surprise to you, but there are millions of people out here who do not need an inerrant Bible to follow Jesus. It comes easy to us. We can tolerate the ambiguity. If you cannot tolerate that ambiguity, then I would argue that it has more to do with the basic DNA-based brain wiring you were born with than either Jesus or the Bible. Faith should transcend brain wiring.

    Third, you will have to make another choice. Right now, you believe that a simple and easy-to-understand Bible protects you from God’s wrath. Here is how it works in your head. You read what God says. It is easily understood. Gage simply understands and avoids doing what God says to not do. This leaves Gage safe. The problem here is that Gage’s faith is in the Bible and himself—not Jesus. You believe that your brain and your black-covered book can work together to keep your fanny safe from a perpetually angry God. You need to decide whether you are going to trust in yourself and your reading ability to keep you safe from this angry and vengeful God of yours, or whether you are going to let go from your brain-book rappelling rope to instead trust (like a small child as the scriptures say) in a LOVING God that you are not scared to death of at all times—and let the grace cover your frail human inabilities and failures.

  29. Charles makes a strong argument against fundamentalist beliefs in biblical inerrancy so, as someone with absolutely no interest in the bible, I will instead repeat Ben; Why are you arguing your doubts about certain aspects of evolution with us, knowing that so far, no one here has claimed any expertise in evolutionary biology or any evolution-based sciences? You do know that Prof. P.Z. Myers is an acclaimed biologist with vast knowledge of the truths/tests for evolution, right? If not, Google is your friend. I do admit, though, that Prof. Myers is pretty busy these days, but ScienceBlogs itself has numerous evolutionary biology-trained scientists who would be glad to discuss your groundbreaking discoveries. Good luck!

  30. Trog69: There are no groundbreaking discoveries on my part, and you can’t easily publish articles about how science is overstated in science journals, especially when they are controlled by those who believe in the overstatements. And there are plenty of such articles already in the non-science literature. You can even find the same problems admitted in the science literature, but you generally have to be pretty famous to get away with pointing out the problems (otherwise you may find you career terminated, lose your grant funding, be denied promotion, etc.).

    I apologize for asking serious questions about evolution on this blog (which no one even attempted to answer except Cytocop). Most here don’t know enough science to do more than accept the “experts” opinions. But I think a person’s philosophy, the way they view the world, matters more even to scientists that do the facts of science. Basically, there is not enough evidence one way or the other to be anywhere near sure whether things like complex living organisms just happen as a result of chemistry, physics, etc. or not, so everyone fills in with philosophy of one kind or another, and this is true of scientists and non-scientists alike.

    I don’t post here often, but I do wish you all the best.

    1. Gage wrote: “Most here don’t know enough science to do more than accept the ‘experts’ opinions.”

      To whom should people turn when they consider a field in which they are not experts? Amateurs? Politicians? Hobbyists who manage to get screeds published in venues that have little to do with the field? One should hope they would turn to experts — to people who have spent their careers studying in the field and analyzing the research and evidence. And one should hope that such experts — not amateurs, politicians and hobbyists — would guide decisions about what our children are learning in their public school classrooms. Unfortunately, that is not what’s happening with the State Board of Education in Texas today. And our schoolchildren will pay the price for that failure, unfortunately.

  31. Gage, you are an entirely predictable creationist troll.

    You despise the theory of evolution because it threatens your mythical creation story. So you do everything you can to discredit the ToE. Only problem is, you don’t have any evidence to support your claims. Zilch. Zero. So then you resort to the same old worn-out dishonest creationist tactics….

    …attacking the integrity of respected scientific journals

    …attempting to smear scientists as being hungry for grants or fearful of losing their jobs (gee, if only there wasn’t a massive conspiracy–then the truth could come out!)

    …implying that the scientific method discourages, rather than encourages, the discovery of new evidence and knowledge

    …implying that other commenters on this blog don’t know enough science to have a valid opinion, whereas you obviously are much more intelligent and educated than the rest of us, so your opinion counts

    Most of the people here didn’t attempt to answer your questions because we’ve been through it all before. Same old dishonest BS. You are so transparent it’s actually amusing. Your “serious questions about evolution” are anything but. You can’t win in the realm of science, so you want to win in the court of public opinion. Pretty pathetic.

    I realize that you really, really want Genesis to be literally true, but sorry, it just isn’t. Grow up and deal with it.

  32. I’ll second that motion. Gage’s statement is not quite correct. Ben and I offered up the “crocoduck” definition of evolution. I was sure we would get a pat on the back for nailing it.

  33. Oh, I see. So, you weren’t asking questions to learn anything, and from what you wrote, it seems you have no interest in asking someone who would have the answers to your doubts about proof of random mutations and natural selection. Instead, you just want to write up an article expressing your doubt. How thrilling for you, I’m sure, and so much tidier than that mucking about with people knowledgeable about evolutionary processes, when instead, you can come here and point out how ridiculous we all are for taking the word of the vast majority of these scientists.

    Fine, whatever. Good luck in your pursuits.

  34. Gage said: “But I think a person’s philosophy, the way they view the world, matters more even to scientists that do the facts of science.”

    Translation: I came here to talk science and its importance alone, but what’s really important in the end (above everything else— including science) is the following: “Genesis 1 says blah, blah, blah; therefore, evolution could never have happened.”

    Why do you people lie so much? Have you never read the Bible? I am not aware of a single place in the Bible that says telling lies is justified to achieve a noble end. However, in your case, neither the lie nor the end (to subvert scientific truth) are noble. The Bible does say something else though. You might try it on like a Xipe Totec suit in spring and see if it fits:

    “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8: 44).

  35. “I don’t post here often, but I do wish you all the best.”

    I for one hope you post here much more often. Since you’ve explained why evolution is a sham, I look forward to even more enlightenment from you. Oh, wait…

    “Unfortunately, that is not what’s happening with the State Board of Education in Texas today. And our schoolchildren will pay the price for that failure, unfortunately.”

    According to our new evolution expert, Gage, Ms. Cargill has been maligned unnecessarily, and really, the horror of missing class and playing in the gym instead is unimaginably evil. THINK OF THE NERDS, DOGGONIT! They’ve spent most of their childhood evading those jocks, and now, because of that Marxist/fascist Obama and his little “speech”, those poor kids could be hurt or winded.

    “Since we’ve had a large portion of our children come in contact with the pure evil known as leftist propaganda, I now submit my proposal that we invite Mr Bobby Jindal to our schools to perform mass exorcisms in order to assure the parents that no liberal demons are residing in our precious snowflakes.”

  36. Ben, I assure you I accept the “theory” of evolution as fact. As a cytotechnologist, my profession is based on cell “theory.” As I accept cell “theory” as fact, so do I accept the “theory” of evolution.

    Also as a hobbyist artist, I accept color “theory.” For example, color theory says that blue + yellow = green. Until science finds facts that disproves this “theory,” I accept it as fact. I really don’t give a flea’s fart about Who made it that way. That would be futile and silly, wouldn’t it? What fact would I be able to find via the scientific method that would prove/disprove color theory?

    Gage, I don’t understand the problem. As I understand it, Evolution is the study of the diversity of life; it is not the study of the origin of life. And Evolution is the study of the natural world; it is not the study of the supernatural world. Science does not address the Why’s or the Who’s; that is for religion and philosophy. Those issues can’t be addressed by the scientific method as I understand it. Again, I challenge you to publish your concerns. Why waste your time with such an uneducated illiterate person as myself?

  37. Sorry, Cytocop, I guess I misread one of your earlier posts. Sounds like you do some interesting, worthwhile work.

  38. Ben, no problem.

    If the creationist/ID crowd find the word “theory” such a stumbling block, I’ll be pleased to remind them that malignancy is based on cell theory. Thus, if they don’t like cell theory because it’s a theory, then they need not ever worry about cancer. As they see it, cancer doesn’t exist.

    Been thinking more about this allegation of “overstatement.” One could make the same claim of overstatement of just about anything one pleases. The creationist/ID crowd is focused on this one issue because it directly effects their preferred world view.

  39. Overstatement is Gage’s strawman. Don’t bite and let that become the basis of the discussion because then it can be used against anyone who might get sucked in. Their purpose is to interject unwarranted doubt about science and its methods at every turn (just like McLeroy told his congregation in 2005). They will try to use the scientist’s openess to correcting and improving theories to discredit the scientific method. Gage made the “overstated” charge against the Modern Theory of Evolution, let him back it up with scientific evidence.

  40. Hm, interesting. I will need a little more time to consider what I want written on it, but I would like one of those lances.

    Do you usually write something perpendicular to the lance, or just along it’s length? Also, can we get some samples of what you’ve written on previous lances? UPS shipping cost estimates would be most appreciated as well. Though of course, considering the item itself is free, it would probably appear unseemly to complain about the cost of shipping.

    This is such a fortuitous find for me, as I’ve been afflicted with this boil for weeks, and to hear of the perfect implement to alleviate my discomfort, and at such a reasonable price, is beyond a dream come true, nevermind how jealous my family will be to see the words of Ben’s wit and wisdom inscribed on the lance itself (once it’s been, uh, cleaned up a bit.)…words fail me!

  41. In that case, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if they’ll be covered by my public option plan.

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